The Unique Experiences of Incarcerated Women in the United States: Trends, Theories, and Policy Implications




Martinez, Mikayla

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Incarcerated women are a unique group within the United States and often face different challenges than incarcerated men. This literature review seeks to analyze the trends within the incarcerated women’s population, evaluate theories on why these trends are occurring, examine the distinctive difficulties women face during both incarceration and upon release, and finally, assess policy implications based on these theories and experiences. This review specifically examines women who re-offend, since they are the group with the largest risk factor. Theories involving drug, economic, social, and mental health reasons seem to have empirical validity, and therefore policy implications such as increased access to various prison programs specific to each woman and increasing the number of visitation options are suggested.



women, incarceration, Crime, Criminal Justice, Honors College


Martinez, M. (2022). The unique experiences of incarcerated women in the United States: Trends, theories, and policy implications (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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